EC314-Public Economics

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: EC201 Intermediate Microeconomics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Vivien Burrows


Summary module description:

This module provides students with the opportunity to explore the rationale for government intervention in the economy and what the role of the government should be, and to analyse a wide range of policy issues.

The module aims to examine the rationale for government intervention in the economy. The first part of the module will look at the justification for and limitations of government intervention in the economy, combining microeconomic theory with applications to contemporary policy issues. The second part of the module will focus on the revenue side and analyse some of the principles involved in tax design and the equity and efficiency implications of taxation.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module students should be able to:
(1) understand the main justifications for and the limitations of government intervention in a
market economy;
(2) use economic theory to analyse public policy issues and compare the outcomes of alternative policies;
(3) describe the means used to finance government programmes and their economic implications;
(4) contribute to the contemporary debates concerning the capabilities and limitations of the government against the market sector.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to further develop their oral and written communication skills through classroom discussions and written assignments.

Outline content:

Topics to be covered include: theories of the public sector; public goods and publicly provided private goods; state ownership, privatisation and regulation; healthcare; social insurance; taxation and deficit financing.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures will be used to introduce and discuss the material. Students are expected to prepare for lectures by reading the suggested literature and to actively participate in classroom discussions. Office hours are available for students to consult the lecturer on an individual basis.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Guided independent study 160 18
Total hours by term 180.00 20.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
There will be two 1,800 word essays, the first to be submitted mid-term and the second to be submitted by the end of the term in which the module is taught. Each essay is worth 15% of the overall mark

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One 3 hour unseen written paper.
    Part 3 examinations are held in the Summer term.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A minimum overall mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination for all modules takes place in August/September of the same year.
    Re-assessment is by examination only; coursework is not included at the second attempt.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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